Lowlights from first day of Jerry Sandusky trial

Posted: June 13, 2012

The Jerry Sandusky/ Penn State child-sexual-abuse trial got off to a dramatic start in Bellefonte, Pa., Monday with major news both inside and outside the courtroom. Here are some highlights:

A 28-year-old man who was the prosecution's first witness told jurors that Sandusky "would put his hand on my leg, basically like I was his girlfriend" during five years of sexual abuse that he endured from Penn State's former defense coordinator during the 1990s, when the witness was an adolescent. News organizations are not publishing the alleged victim's name.

The so-called Victim 4 testified that the retired coach molested him in the locker-room showers and in hotels while trying to ensure his silence with gifts and trips to bowl games. He said that Sandusky — whom he met through the Second Mile charity — began assaulting him in 1997 with "soap battles" in the shower. It moved on to oral sex.

In a major outside development, NBC News reported that university emails from 2001 showed that former Penn State president Graham B. Spanier and another top university official agreed it would be "humane" to Sandusky to not report him in an alleged encounter with a boy in a campus shower.

The emails were uncovered during the internal investigation of Penn State being conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh. Two former top Penn State administrators face perjury charges in connection with an alleged Sandusky cover-up, but Spanier has not been prosecuted.

Prosecutors offered their opening statement, as prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III told the jury that Sandusky was a "predatory pedophile" who methodically used his youth charity to zero in on fatherless children or those with unstable home lives, plied them with gifts and took advantage of them sexually.

Sandusky's defense unveiled the core of its case, as attorney Joe Amendola argued that the case is flimsy and that some of the accusers apparently intend to sue and have a financial stake. Amendola also said that Mike McQueary, the football team assistant who reported seeing Sandusky naked in a shower with a boy in 2002, was mistaken about what he saw.

"In Jerry's culture, growing up in his generation, where he grew up, he's going to tell you it was routine for individuals to get showers together," the lawyer said. "I suspect for those of you who might have been in athletics, it's routine." n

— Daily News staff and wire report We invite you to comment on this story by clicking here. Comments will be moderated.

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